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Mr Porter Eats

Red Wines For A Winter’s Night

Five London chefs recommend their favourite wine for winter and a hearty dish to match

  • From left: Ms Simone Signoret, Mr Yves Montand, Ms Marilyn Monroe and Mr Arthur Miller round the table in Los Angeles, 1960 © Bruce Davidson/ Magnum Photos

As the nights draw in, there are few greater pleasures than rustling up some comfort food, glass in hand. However if, like us, you often find yourself relying on the same tried-and-tasted dishes, we’ve called in some of London’s best chefs to help broaden your repertoire.

“London is where I come for inspiration; it now has more talented young chefs than anywhere in the world,” international restaurateur Mr Wolfgang Puck tells MR PORTER. As the British capital pushes the world dining scene forward, its diners are spending more per head on wine than anywhere else in the world – so it follows that these chefs know as much about what goes in the glass as what goes on to the plate. Here’s what they will be serving at home as winter sets in.

Mr Michel Roux Jr, chef and restaurateur

One of the world’s most decorated chefs, Mr Roux, 54, sits at the head of the table of a renowned cooking dynasty. He and his family have served the finest classic French cuisine everywhere from Hong Kong to Manhattan – and his flagship London restaurant Le Gavroche has led the charge in making the London dining scene cool again. 

THE WINE
Hermitage l’Ermite Rouge 2009 – Domaine Michel Chapoutier

“I love the warmth of this wine and its velvety texture – it’s perfect for winter drinking. I serve it with a beautiful slow-cooked shoulder of young wild boar because it really brings out the gamey flavours. Hermitage l’Ermite Rouge is made up of 100% syrah, so if you can’t find this exact bottle, look for other syrah wines from the Hermitage region, such as Radevic Estate and those north of the Rhône Valley, for something more reasonably priced.”

THE DISH
Slow-cooked shoulder of wild boar

Serves: six
Ready in: two hours
Difficulty: low

Ingredients 

1 shoulder wild boar (look for well-marbled meat with a minimum of fat husk on the outside)
200ml crème de cassis 
3tbsp red wine vinegar 
3tbsp brandy 

2 onions
8 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
2 strong red chillies

“This is a guaranteed crowd pleaser, ideal for a winter dinner party as it’s served in one dish, so let your guests help themselves. Take the shoulder and make small incisions all over with a knife, then place it in a plastic bag and add all the liquids, the bay leaves and chillies cut in half. Seal the bag and leave to marinate for as long as you can: overnight is ideal; an hour will still get the flavours going.

“Once it has been sufficiently marinated, take the meat out of the bag, drain (but don’t dare waste a drop of the precious liquid), season and place it in a roasting tray on top of the veg so it doesn’t burn on the tray. Slide the tray into the oven at 200°C/ 390°F for 30 minutes, then turn the heat down to 160°C/ 320°F for 30 minutes, basting regularly. The more you put the cooking liquor through the meat, the better it will taste. To finish it off, add 200ml water to the tray with the marinade, cover loosely with foil and continue to cook for a further hour. You’ll know it’s done when your neighbours catch the scent and coming knocking with wine.”

Mr Ben Tish, author and executive chef, Salt Yard

One of London’s most stylish chefs, 38-year-old Mr Tish presents plates that look as good as he does when he’s not in whites, as his appearances on TV attest. He heads up the kitchen at London’s modern tapas collective, Salt Yard, famous for its jamon croquettes. 

THE WINE
Contero Brachetto d'Acqui DOCG, Piemonte

“In winter, I like a rich and spicy Barolo from Piedmont – something like a Contero. It has long, mulled red fruit flavours and for me this evokes chilly autumn and winter days, crackling log fires and the aroma of slow-cooked, hearty dishes coming in from the kitchen. The richness of this wine envelops you in a feel-good cloud and all quickly becomes right with the world. It’s perfect with rich, saucy, meat-based dishes, and this recipe is firmly my winter favourite. And if you can’t find this wine, you can rarely go wrong with any Barolo, or north Italian spicy wine.”

THE DISH
Braised beef cheeks with parsnip purée

Serves four to six
Ready in: four hours
Difficulty: low

Ingredients 
4 beef cheeks
1 onion
1 carrot
1 celery stick
1 bay leaf 

Thyme 
500ml red wine  
500ml veal stock

“The best dishes are often the simplest – and they don’t get much more straightforward than this. Start by browning the cheeks in a pot with a splash of oil for a few minutes until they colour up. (Colour means flavour, and the more you get on now, the better return on the taste.) Remove and set aside. In the same pot, add the veg and herbs and brown thoroughly. Add the wine and let it reduce by half. Replace the cheeks. Add the stock and braise for four hours – it’s the kind of dish to start in the morning and return to for lunch, when the house is full of aroma, and the beef is ready to be served with the wine.”

For the purée
400g parsnips 
100ml milk – heated together with 50g butter  

“Peel and roughly chop the parsnips, then cook in the milk until tender. Put the parsnips in a blender until smooth and then stir in the heated milk and butter, and season. Spoon onto a plate and swipe in one smooth movement with the back of a dessert spoon. It’s a chef’s touch that looks great and gives the stew the perfect base to rest on.”

Mr Miles Kirby, co-founder and executive chef, Caravan 

There are few chefs who have travelled and worked in more foodie destinations across Asia, Europe and Africa than Mr Kirby. The 40 year old, who comes from Wellington, New Zealand, combines all his learning at Caravan, in the regenerated area of King’s Cross, which has become a real food-and-drink hot spot in recent years.

THE WINE
Oddero Barolo, 2009

“My favourite wines are best matched with simple flavours. Number one for me is the Oddero Barolo. It’s not overly expensive, but the way it matches with food is divine. At home, I’ll serve it with fresh pasta and beef-shin ragu. Other wines from the Piedmont regions will work well with slow-cooked meat, too. If you’re splashing out, look for Paolo Scavino or Vietti, though there’s serious value in anything from Tenuta Carretta or Luigi Einaudi. Ask the guy in your wine shop what he’s got from these areas.”

THE DISH
Pasta with beef-shin ragu

Serves six
Ready in: two hours
Difficulty: medium

Ingredients
1kg of beef shin, chopped
5 garlic cloves
1 onion, diced
2 bay leaves 
3 sprigs thyme 


1/2 bottle red wine
1 tin tomatoes
2L chicken stock
200g fresh pappardelle pasta 

“Brown the meat to seal in the flavour and the vital cooking juices that heat as you cook and keep it nice and tender. Cook in olive oil in a heavy pan on a high heat until brown, seared and smelling wonderful. Next, fry the garlic and onion with the bay and thyme. Add the red wine to deglaze the pan and reduce the liquid by two thirds. Next, add the tomatoes and return the browned beef to the pan. Add the stock and simmer in the pot for two hours until the beef is tender. Remove the cooked beef from the pan. Shred it with a fork and stir it back through the sauce while boiling your fresh pasta for no more than a minute. Think of the dish like a sophisticated pulled pork. Pull the pasta through the sauce, add a hunk of butter and let it melt to give the sauce a glossy texture, then serve in the middle of a pristine white plate and let the pasta relax naturally.”

Mr Dan Doherty, executive chef, Duck & Waffle 


Mr Doherty, 30, caters to a City crowd in one of the most sought-after locations in London: the sky-scraping Heron Tower restaurant Duck & Waffle. His signature dish – duck and waffle – is served 24 hours a day. Diners travel the world to try it.

THE WINE
2005 Giuseppe Cortese Barbaresco Rabaja

“My favourite grape is Nebbiolo, from the North of Italy. With two great towns and wines of the same name, Barolo and Barbaresco, this region produces two very distinct wines. The grandfather, Barolo, is warm and embracing, perfect for cold winter nights. The Barbaresco is a wine I’d serve on a bright and sunny winter’s day because it is lighter and delicate enough to work with flavours such as rosemary and sage.” And if you can’t find Barbaresco, look for anything with plenty of Barbera – the most-grown grape in northern Italy.

THE DISH
Braised rabbit with rosemary and sage

Serves: six
Ready in: one hour
Difficulty: easy

Ingredients
2tbsp flour
Salt
2kg of rabbit, cut into 8 even-sized chunks
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves
2tbsp chopped rosemary
1L chicken broth
2 glasses red wine 
Garnish: 2tbsp parsley and 2tbsp sage

“Rabbit is one of the tastiest and best-value meats. Through winter, it’s at its most flavoursome, having had the summer to fatten up before the colder months and lack of bounty take their toll. Stir the flour and salt together in a bowl, then add the rabbit and toss to coat. Brown the rabbit in batches in a heavy pan, transferring the pieces to a bowl and setting aside. Add the onion and remaining oil to the pan and sauté, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic and rosemary, and fry for one minute. Add the broth, wine and rabbit, and simmer for an hour. Remove the lid, let it thicken, then plate up, serving with a more-than-generous helping (at least 40% butter) of mashed potato.”

Mr Richard Corrigan, chef patron, Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill, and Corrigan’s Mayfair 

Winner of the BBC’s Great British Menu, 50-year-old Mr Corrigan has been at the forefront of the London dining scene for 20 years. His seafood emporium Bentley’s has the best bouillabaisse in the capital. When the winter months come round, head to Corrigan’s Mayfair for the very best in British game. 

THE WINE
Cumberland Reserve, Bergström Winery from Willamette Valley

“At this time of year, it has to be game. There is nothing I enjoy more than putting my feet up and tucking into a good local game pie accompanied by a cracking pinot noir. The one I’ve chosen here is from Oregon, a top New World producer. You’ll find any number of good pinots from the region in any good wine shop. They all have the full-bodied fruitiness that brings out the flavour of game and red meat.”

THE DISH
Grouse pie

Serves: four
Ready in: 1.5 hours
Difficulty: fairly hard

Ingredients 

4 grouse breasts
1 pack button mushrooms
8 shallots, chopped 
2 garlic cloves, chopped
100ml Madeira
6 savoy cabbage leaves
400g shortcrust pastry
Egg yolk
4 slices foie gras 

“This is a pie recipe for the man who fancies himself as proficient in the kitchen. Fry each breast skin-on in butter for one minute on each side. Don’t be scared of the calories; good quality, grass-fed butter means you get the good-quality CLA fats that actually raise metabolism and boost good cholesterol. Caramelise the mushrooms by frying in a large pan until they start to brown. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until soft. Next, add the Madeira and cook until dry. It’s a sauce base you can use on everything from steak to eggs. 

“Now flash-boil the cabbage leaves for 30 seconds. You just want them to soften to paper-like texture. You’re using the cabbage as your waterproofing for the pastry. It stops it getting soggy and creates the barrier to steam the ingredients inside. Sear the foie gras on a high heat on both sides. Yes, it’s decadent, and yes, it’s fatty, but boy, is it delicious when seeping into the deep gamey flavour of the grouse.

“Roll out the shortcrust pastry (feel free to use shop-bought) and cut it into four squares. Brush egg yolk on the edges and place a cabbage leaf in the centre. Drop in the breast, and spoon on the filling and a slice of foie gras. Pull the pastry up and around to encase the cabbage, twist it into a rustic knot and cover in cling film, being sure not to split the case. Put in the fridge for 20 minutes to help it set. Then trim the pastry so that it looks neat, and bake the four pies in a 230°C/ 440°F oven for 12 minutes. No more, no less. Real winter pies made for real men.”